Monthly Archives: September 2012

Lincoln and the potato famine

Christine Kinealy has made an interesting discovery: Abraham Lincoln was one of the thousands of donors who sent money to Ireland during the potato famine.  His contribution of ten dollars was made in 1847, during his term in the House of Representatives.

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Kathleen Kennedy on Spielberg’s Lincoln

Producer Kathleen Kennedy talked to E! News about Steven Spielberg’s interest in Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role of the upcoming film.  Click here to read the article.

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The day the war changed

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, turning a war for the Union into a revolution against slavery.

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.…

For more information about the preliminary proclamation, see the online exhibit from the National Archives, the essay by Harold Holzer and scans of the manuscript at the New York State Library, the materials relating to the proclamation at the Library of Congress, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s section on slavery and emancipation.

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Visiting the namesake

A few staff and faculty members from Lincoln Memorial University’s Carter and Moyers School of Education just returned from a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education conference in Washington, D.C.  There wasn’t much time for sightseeing, but they did manage to take in one of the capital’s premier attractions.  Can you guess which one they chose to visit?

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Spielberg’s Lincoln trailer released

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Did Obama’s DNC speech include a fake Lincoln quote?

Probably so, according to James Cornelius.

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“A base forgery”

Right now Americans have presidential politics on the brain. On this date in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was thinking about the same thing.

Having been selected as the Republican nominee, he had just discovered, via a letter from Anson G. Chester, that a Chicago newspaper had printed a speech purporting to be Lincoln’s own work.  The remarks criticized Thomas Jefferson as a “repulsive” character who profited from the bondage of his own illegitimate children.  Lincoln responded to Chester as follows:

The extract upon a newspaper slip which you sent, and which I herewith return, is a base forgery, so far as its authorship is imputed to me. I never said anything like it, at any time or place. I do not recognize it as anything I have ever seen before, emanating from any source. I wish my name not to be used; but my friends will be entirely safe in denouncing the thing as a forgery, so far as it is ascribed to me.

On September 6, the Illinois State Journal denounced the anti-Jefferson speech as a “bold and deliberate forgery,” claiming that “Mr. Lincoln has ever spoken of Mr. Jefferson in the most kindly and respectful manner, holding him up as one of the ablest statesmen of his own or any other age, and constantly referring to him as one of the greatest apostles of freedom and free labor.”

That wasn’t the end of Lincoln’s Jefferson problem; a few weeks later, he had to issue another denial.  His law partner William H. Herndon claimed that Lincoln did indeed have a low opinion of Jefferson, but in 1859 Lincoln praised the author of the Declaration of Independence:

All honor to Jefferson—to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyrany and oppression.

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